Saturday, February 23, 2013

S-3 Viking project

After a long evaluation, I've finally started working on the S-3 Viking... I have not decided yet if it will be an S-3A or an S-3B, and I am struggling to find the best way to generate good base textures... but it is definitely a very interesting machine.
As you know, aircraft development in FSX is a quite complex and long porocess.. so it will take months before I'll have anything to share.
I think I had gathered all the pictures I could find on the web...but should you have interesting Viking pictures to share (especially for the interiors), they'd be welcome.

By the way I have not abandoned the MB.339 but the preliminary work was not satisfactory, especially if you consider that, to make sense, the project would need to be substantially better than the existing renditions - so I'll put in on hold at the moment.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Last Tomcat Demo repaint

I am still slowly debugging the Tomcat... very slowly, unfortunately. Most probably the new F-14D will be released by the end of the month. Not all the bugs will be fixed, not all the defects will be adjusted, and it will not be the perfect Tomcat rendition we are all dreaming for (Aerosoft's one, may be?)...still I am pretty happy with it.
I have made another repaint and it is 164601, VF-101 "Grim Reapers" Last Tomcat Demo, which is another of the very few "retro" schemes.
In doing so I have noticed that there UVW coordinates for texturing are misplaced rearby the edges of the crew access ladder steps... This may be a major incovenience for some repaints - sorry for that, but it is not an easy fix for this...

By the way, I have been evaluating the next projects for a while, now...decision has not been taken yet, but I am leaning towards the S-3 Viking, as I am not satisfied by the preliminary work I did for the MB.339. Will let you my decision soon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

F-14D upated MDL and retro scheme

Debugging is a very tedious process... so I took a break and made the repaint above, that is the high-visibility, retro livery of the "Tomcat Sunset" cerimony.
While making this repaint I noticed that there were some mistakes in the texturing placement which I had to fix in order to complete the livery...and so I did. I also fixed some other minor mistakes highlighted by the Beta 1 testing and some minor modeling errors...

Here is a link to the latest model (and the retro livery) - everybody is welcome to download it, although requires the Beta 1 version to work.


Repainters: you may want to check that your repaints are working fine with this new model, list of changes are as follows:
- antenna flare on nose landing gear door resized and moved slightly backwards
- fixed texturing misplacement in engine nacelle area (nearby landing gear, should have no impact at all)
- fixed UVW misplacement on the canopy (crew names area, right side)
- changed UVW texturing on main landing gear wheels door to allow two-color painting (picked from blank area in the may want to check this - should have no impact if you stick to the default texturing in that area as you probably did)
- fixed visual interference between flaps and inflatable area when fully swept
- added high-g vapor (used F-35 effects)
well...I believe that is it.

This is not yet the final model, but the only thing I have to fix is the landing light and the animation interference of the main landing gear...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Minor tweaks to the F-35

Elections are just few weeks away here in Italy, and the F-35 is a recurring argument in the debates. This poor jet is taking a lot of flak from politicians and newspapers. It is true that the F-35 has its share of problems, but some of its issues have been greatly dramatized - and it is quickly becoming a common discussion topic (thanks also to a popular TV-show that basically said it is a waste of money and Italy should bail out asap). Whatever. I decided to show some love to this jet by releasing a small upgrade to my FSX/Prepar3d rendition. Changes are as follows:

Version 2.11
February 5th 2013
  •  Minor fixes to F-35A USAF Textures (more accurate fonts and sizes)
  • Minor fixes to F-35B USMC Texture (more accurate font size)
  • Added texture set: VMFA-121 “Green Knights”,USMC,Yuma MCAS
  • Added texture set: VFA-101 “Grim Reapers”, USN, Eglin AFB
  • Fixed default zoom ratio on all external models
  • Fixed pan rate for fixed external views
Files will be available for download by the side bar (a full install version and an "update only" version...the latter will be released at the usual libraries) - I am writing this during the upload process but it may take a while.  Anyway, no big changes. Just some random fix I had on my hard disk - apart from the VFA-101 Grim Reapers paintscheme which I did right now, and which is based on official pictures, although may be a little inaccurate in some minor details. BTW I thought there was a repainter working on this, but since I had no news for a while nor I saw the repaint released anywhere, well, I thought to do it myself.
And, maybe I am getting old, but I have to admit that Grim Reapers colors look MUCH better on the Tomcat. May be this is the reason why the Lightning II is not getting much simply is not so pretty. But it could have been worse... it could have been the X-32... 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Repainting the F-14D

Some quick notes for those who may be repainting the F-14D Tomcat:

- I've been noticed that there are some minor texture misplacements in the tail area (specifically textures misplacement in the white navigation light area and on the sides of the beaver tail). This may create some difficulties in schemes which have a non-grey tail. They have been fixed in the latest model, link is below.


- I do not have layered clean texture, sorry... I almost work in the Jurassic fashion of using no layers. The cleanest texture sheet is below. Note that Beta 1 texture had some minor detail missing on the lower side of the outer tails surface. It is there in this set.


- Fuel tank side have only "one sided" texture... this will not change sorry.

- There is an intentional "shift" of the rudder textures with respect to the tail textures... this was done on purpose for separate rudder painting on a retro scheme which was abandoned. Shift will not change, but the image below provides guidance hopefully.

I encourage you to post pictures of your repaints and let other repainters know what you are working on. Please do not release repaints until the F-14 is officially released. In the meantime, you may want to send them to me for possible inclusion in the base package.

163904 of VF-31, in low viz "Tomcat Sunset" markings will be the only paintscheme from my side.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

F-14D Tomcat Public Beta 1

This post is intended to be the repository of the F-14D Tomcat Beta 1 feedback. The Beta 1 release is the first public release of the new version of my Tomcat project. This project is, for my standards, very complex and many systems of the real Tomcat are simulated only partially or not at all. Please consider that this is not a professional product, and definitely not a "full realism" rendition of this great aicraft.

Everybody is welcome to download the Beta, *BUT* please follow these rules:
- DO NOT UPLOAD THE FILE ANYWHERE ELSE. This is just a test version.
- If you have a bug to report, please first check it is not already in the list below, and if it is not please report it by adding a comment to this post.
- Take your time. I do not need immediate feedback. And if you spot a strange bug, please try to replicate it and report in which conditions it shows, if applicable.
- Suggestions are welcome. I am not planning to add features, but I'll do that if I can and it makes sense.
- If you are a repainter, I encourage you to repaint this model but if you do, please do not upload it anywhere for the moment, and send it to me, if possible - I may want to include it in the base package (and of course proper credit will be given).
- Please bear in mind this is for FSX:Acceleration or Gold versions ONLY. May crash FSX if used on other versions.

DOWNLOAD LINK (By downloading the file you certify you have read the rules above and promise to do your best to follow them)

Repainters, you may want to download the file below. I have been noticed that there are minor mistakes is faces painting, they will be fixed later on and will not affect the repaint.


I wish I had the time to create a manual as detailed as the one of the T-45C but I had no time to do so, so here is some basic information you need to know.
- Wing sweep is automatic when flaps are raised. Oversweep is controlled by Wingfold command. Direct Lift is not completely simulated, but is activated automatically at certain AoAs when full flaps is commanded.
- Doors/exit animations are as follows: Exit-0 is the canopy. Exit-1 is the refuel probe, Exit-2 (shift+E then 3) is the crew access ladder, Exit-3 (shift+E then 4) opens some maintenance panels.
- The layout of the RIO cockpit is not the one of a typical F-14D, but it reflects the one preserved in the Castle Air Museum (with thanks to Ken Simmons for having sent me a lot of very detailed cockpit pictures - I could not reach this level of detail in the cockpit without those images!).
- The Tactical Information Display is off by default, as it may give an hit to can turn it on with the knob on the upper-right corner.

Well... this probably  is not all you need to know, but I'll let you discover the rest.

Last updated: Monday 10th February 2013

External model

1) Missing high-G wing vapor effects. Status: CLOSED. Added to model build 30, 4/2/13

2) Missing weapons/loadouts variants. Status: OPEN. I am not sure if I am willing to add them for several reasons, including model size and frame-per-second burden...

3) Evaluate replacement of LAU-7 with more historically accurate LAU-138. Status: OPEN. Action - this was known while modeling...thing is I had the LAU-7 already modeled.... 

4) Launch bar does not engage the shuttle visually. Status: OPEN. Root cause: this is due to the fact that the kneel function is not implemented. Action: TBD

5) Tire textures are not perfectly aligned, and the tires seem to wobbe. Status: CLOSED. Texture redone and improve nose strut texture. 4/2/13

6) Fuel tanks undersized. Status: CLOSED. Changed 3D model. 5/2/13

7) Texture misplacement in tail areas preventing some repaints. Status: CLOSED. Fixed 3D model mapping 5/2/13 NOTE: This does not cover intentional shift in rudder texture which will stay.

8) Texture misplacement in canopy area create warps on crew name area. Status: CLOSED. Fixed 3D model.

9) Move antenna flare on nose gear door to fit the actual position. Status: CLOSED. Slightly adjusted 3d model - it is not possible at this point to completely get rid of the issue without a major rework of the model.

10) Wingtip contrails not aligned with geometry. Status: CLOSED. Got rid of contrails effects.

Pilot Virtual cockpit

1) Fuel quantity indicator bars do not work as intended. Status: CLOSED. Fixed .XML code 12/2/2013

2) Caution/advisory light system incomplete. Status: OPEN. Needs some more work.

3) HUD AoA indications do not match the AoA Indexer. STATUS:CLOSED. Root cause: Indexer is using default F/A-18 conditions, which do not match the F-14. Action: change XML code. Critical for realistic carrier ops. Fixed thanks to JR. 5/2/13

4) SHIFT+E keys do not wok anymore if ILS/VOR is tracked in the HUD. Status: CLOSED. Root cause: this is a known bug in some of JR's HUDs... fixed on T-45 and F-35. Action:  Updated HUD from JR. Problem persists for other reasons (TBD) 5/2/13

5) AoA indicator graphic issues during extreme conditions (inidicator slips away from its case). Status: CLOSED. Could not replicate the issue, however added animation constraints to AoA needle, so that it should never overshoot the case. 4/2/13

6) Radio knobs not working as intended. Status: OPEN. Root cause: not identified... I have double checked .XML code and it seems correct...

7) Update HUD and HUD functionality. Status: CLOSED. Implemented thanks to Jivko. 5/2/13

8) HUD frame is slightly shifted sideways. Status: CLOSED. Modified 3D model. 10/2/13 

9) Slight increase in windshield and HUD transparency for better visibility. Status: CLOSED. Modified 3D model. 10/2/13

10) Missing altimeter setting knob. Status: CLOSED. Modified 3D model. 10/2/13

Rio Virtual cokpit

1) Caution/advisory light system incomplete. Status: OPEN. Needs some more work.

2) Some buttons in the MFD are not working. Status: CLOSED. Root cause: FSX bug, does not recognize mouse areas from certain angles, now all button work with new default RIO view. 4/2/13

3) RIO point of view need to be moved forward a little. STATUS: CLOSED. Fixed configuration file. 4/2/13

4) Colors of some TID features are incorrect. STATUS: OPEN. Action: check TID gauge.

5) Evaluate addition of MAP mode to TID. STATUS: OPEN. Action: check TID gauge.

10) Missing altimeter setting knob. Status: CLOSED. Modified 3D model. 10/2/13

Flight model

1) Roll rate may be too low in some conditions. STATUS: OPEN. Action: check against NATOPS values.

2) A/C is more stable with less tendency to departures at high AoA than the real deal. STATUS: OPEN. Action: evaluate changes against risk of messing up the slow speed behavior, which seems OK at the moment...

3) Transonic drag may be a little low, and drag at high Mach No. is probably a little low, too, for the default configuration. Action: evaluate changes in the .air file. CLOSED. Increased transonic drag, slightly better performance above Mach 1.6, closer to NATOPS values. 4/2/13.

4) Improve stall dynamics as per NATOPS (see 2). Action: evaluate any change carefully - risk is to compromise low speed behavior which seems OK at the moment.

5) Evaluate a possible increase of the damaging threshold of the nose gear (value seem realistic at the moment but is preceived as fragile by some users). Action: check against NATOPS.

6) Miscellaneous issues with speedbrake control. Bug spotted in Rob's control gauge and 

7) Evaluate implementation of possible engine flameout when engine sump depletes (prolonged inverted flight or A/B engagement at negative g's). STATUS: CLOSED. Newest control gauge from Rob implements it.


1) Nose strut kneeling not implemented - I have studied that, and though a way to do it on the external visual model...but takes a lot of work to do and may screw other animation, so I am not sure it is worth doing...

2) Sound pack by Serge Luzin, with mods from Aaron Swindle is actually designed for an F/A-18 Hornet (BLASPHEMY!)... I have tried to explore other routes, but this is the best I can use (and sounds great!).

3) Pan Rate in some views is too slow. STATUS: CLOSED. Fixed configuration file. 4/2/2013.

Color key:
Green - issue solved, or mitigated to the point is acceptable or not perceived by most users, or issue open but really a minor annoyance to the vast majority of the users.
Yellow -issue open, and could be perceived as product defect by a significant number of users. Awaiting action or investigation. Or issue open, mitigated to the best of my knowledge but will still be perceived as defect by users. Or issue open but appears easy to fix.
Red - root cause not identified as of today. Or the problem is beyond my knowledge or impossible or difficult to solve. Or, issue open and it is critical to solve it before release.